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Pakistan top judge orders political parties to cut ties with criminal gangs

Pakistani Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry [official profile] on Thursday issued a judgment urging political parties to stop financing criminal groups [order, PDF] responsible for increased violence in the city of Karachi. In the judicial decision, Chaudhry announced that militant groups have gained strength because of support from local political groups and ordered the Pakistani government to help address the corruption:

The problem can only be solved through application of special means as well as requesting political leadership to eliminate militancy from their wings. The political face of the city has been taken hostage by militant groups of political parties. Political parties are penetrated by the criminals under the garb of political groups who use party flags. The militants and criminals are taking refuge in the lap of political and ethnic parties which use the flags of these parties to commit illegal activities with impunity.
Chaudhry quoted Article 9 of the Pakistani Constitution [text, PDF], upholding the fundamental rights of individuals to life and liberty under the law. He also suggested that the government create committees to investigate and encourage police forces to take action against gang members, despite the criminals' political connections. Nearly 1,000 people have been killed this year [AFP report] because of the rising violence in Karachi, the financial capital of the country.

Pakistan faces an ongoing struggle dealing with politicians allegedly involved with violent crime. Pakistani Judge Shahid Raffique in August ordered that the property of former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf be seized and his bank account frozen [JURIST report] in connection with his alleged involvement in the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto [JURIST news archives]. The judge ordered the nation's Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) [official website] to conduct the seizure because Musharraf had failed to respond to multiple subpoenas [Al Jazeera report]. Musharraf was arrested in February [JURIST report] because he had not cooperated during the investigation of Bhutto's death, and investigators alleged that Musharraf did not provide adequate security [DAWN report] for Bhutto when she was assassinated during a campaign rally in Pakistan in 2007.

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